ROME – On Thursday morning the Vatican said that Pope Francis, after being admitted to the hospital the previous day for a respiratory infection, was showing signs of improvement and had spent the morning working and in prayer.

In a statement, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that “His Holiness Pope Francis rested well during the night. His clinical status is progressively improving, and the planned treatments continue.”

“This morning after breakfast, he read some papers and went back to work. Before lunch he went to the small chapel of the private apartment, where he gathered in prayer and received the Eucharist,” Bruni said.

Pope Francis went into Rome’s Gemelli hospital Wednesday afternoon for what were originally described as “previously planned tests.” Prior, he had presided over his public general audience Wednesday morning as usual.

Late Wednesday night, the Vatican said Francis would be hospitalized for “a few days” due to a respiratory infection unassociated with COVID-19, and that he had decided to go to the Gemelli hospital for tests after suffering from some respiratory difficulties over the past few days.

It is unclear whether Pope Francis will be able to preside over next week’s Holy Week liturgies as planned, however, his appointments for the next two days have all been canceled.

His last stay at the Gemelli hospital was in July 2021 for an invasive colon surgery, where he spent eleven days before returning to the Vatican.

As a young Jesuit Pope Francis had part of one lung removed after a severe bout of pneumonia, and he also suffers from sciatica. More recently, in 2019 he underwent ocular surgery at Rome’s Clinic of Pius XI to treat a cataract, and he’s also struggled with knee pain which has constrained him to use of a wheelchair and cane.